In September 2010, Tony Abbott offered newly-elected Independent MP Andrew Wilkie $1 billion for Wilkie's local hospital, if he would throw his support behind the Coalition.
Wilkie rejected the offer, labelling it "over the top and irresponsible".
Almost three years later, in his budget reply speech last night, Abbott pledged to scrap Labor's carbon tax, but keep the associated compensation packages. That pledge alone will cost almost $4 billion a year, every year.
Nothing has changed.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Telecommunications analyst Kevin Morgan published an article on the ABC website The Drum today, explaining why the Coalition’s cut-down broadband proposal made more sense than Labor’s more ambitious, more advanced policy.
Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 5 years, Labor is rolling out a fibre-to-the-home broadband network called the NBN. It will connect 93% of households, deliver speeds far greater than we currently have and will be, in theory, infinitely upgradeable.
The Coalition, after opposing the NBN for years, have just released a hybrid proposal that would see fibre rolled out around the country, but not connected to individual households. Existing copper phone lines would be used for that. The cost would be a little lower; the achievable speeds would be considerably lower. The Coalition proposal would also be significantly more expensive to upgrade.
That’s the background.
Morgan’s article was heavily critical of both the Government and the NBN, calling the network roll-out a “train wreck” and “lead in the saddlebags” that the Coalition will have to deal with. The Coalition’s plan is described as “eminently sensible” and goes into some detail as to why hooking the NBN up to the existing copper infrastructure makes perfect sense.
Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull obviously approved. He bobbed up on Twitter shortly after the article was published:
Thing is, Morgan is speaking rubbish. He is opposed to the NBN in principle, and has been from day one.
Consider this article that Morgan published in The Age in April 2009. Called “Rudd's $43bn broadband plan is just another sham”, it slams the proposal and concludes with this statement:
Welcome to 21st century broadband Australian-style, delivered over rotting copper wires.
Sixteen months later, on the eve of the 2010 Federal election that would eventually see Labor returned to power, Morgan called the NBN a “political cover-up” that had nothing to do with technology or economics.
Once the election was over, Morgan changed his angle of attack. Suddenly our phone lines were no longer “rotting copper wires”; now Morgan was saying “The copper still has good life in it” and claimed the existing network still had more to give.
Move forward another 12 months to October 2011, and here’s Morgan again. This time he’s writing about the NBN gravy train and the pork-barrelling that goes with it. No mention of copper though.
And another year on, in October 2012, Morgan and The Australian were at it again. This time the NBN’s commercial viability was under attack.
And now he’s back. His article on The Drum not only goes to some lengths to explain how we can keep using copper (but not the rotting copper wires he was so scathing about in 2009), but also tries to use the “our future is wireless” argument:
The flexibility of an FTTN deployment recognises that in an age of tablets and smartphones, predicating our future on one vast investment in fibre to every home, at unknown cost, is not sensible.
Morgan, with his years in the telecommunications industry, knows this is grade-A gold-plated bullshit. Wireless and cabled technologies are complementary, not adversarial. That’s why we have wireless networks in our homes home, fed by our physical broadband connections, to provide data to our wireless devices.
Ultimately, Morgan’s position on the NBN can be described in his own words:
Not economic, not technological, pure politics.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Journalism can be a dangerous business; no one is denying that.
In fact, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), it can be deadly.
As their website says, the CPJ is “an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide.” And they have some truly frightening statistics:
- 974 journalists killed worldwide since 1992
- 232 journalists jailed worldwide, as of the end of 2012
- 463 journalists forced into exile since 2007
The list goes on.
Countries such as
Somalia, Iraq and Pakistan are among those where
reporting the news can lead to jail, exile or death.
I won’t re-hash the hysterical nonsense about media regulation that The Daily Telegraph has vomited into the tabloid press over the past couple of days. There’s no need; it’s enough to point out that at the end of the working day, Williams, Whittaker and the rest of them can go safely home to unwind. Relax. Be with loved ones. Get a good night’s sleep. And front up again the next day to do it all again… without fearing for their lives.
Want to attack the proposed regulatory reforms? Go right ahead. Be factual, be clear, be persuasive. Convince us that you’re right.
But to play the “woe is us” card and liken your situation to those in oppressive regimes around the world? Where to report the news is to risk your life?
You gutless, spineless, self-important wankers. You are an embarrassment to your profession.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
The Federal Coalition made history this morning when they voted overwhelmingly to sack Tony Abbott, and then installed Labor’s Carbon Tax as Leader of the Opposition.
The surprise move came 3 months after a pair of poll results that showed that the Carbon Tax was more popular with Australian voters (Essential Research, 46%) than Mr Abbott (Newspoll, 33%).
|Former Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has been replaced by the Carbon Tax.|
One senior Liberal figure (speaking on condition of anonymity) said, “It was a no-brainer, thank goodness. When the polls are that clear, it’s time to make a change.” But he denied that the change in leadership was the beginning of the end for the Coalition. “Don’t think for a moment that we’re in trouble; believe me, we’re behind our new leader eleventy per cent.”
The Carbon Tax marked its elevation to the Opposition leadership by embarking on a whistlestop tour of the country, starting in Whyalla. But the Tax plans to be back in
“It’s obvious that my place is in Parliament,” the Carbon Tax said before driving off in its carbon-neutral Prius. “There’s more hot air coming out of the House of Representatives than any factory in the country. Well, that’s about to change.”
Kevin Rudd refused to comment.
Friday, February 15, 2013
As political editor of The Age, Michelle Grattan was obliged to cover the broad spectrum of events in Australian politics. Her brief was not to pick and choose what she wrote about, but rather to decide how to interpret and report the events of the day, every day, whatever they may be.
But last week, Grattan left The Age to take on a teaching role with The University Of Canberra. At the same time, she signed on with independent news & opinion website The Conversation as an associate editor and their chief political correspondent.
Yes, Michelle Grattan has entered the blogosphere. And, as new bloggers are wont to do, she has embraced her new-found editorial freedom by writing about what really, really interests her.
Sadly, that seems to boil down to two words: Kevin Rudd.
In the five days thus far that Grattan has been writing for The Conversation, Grattan has published five articles. All five are (to some degree) about Labor, and all five are less than complimentary.
Four of the five mention Rudd.
Article one, A Fresh Start To An Important Political Year, is ostensibly Grattan’s introduction to The Conversation. Yet it focuses primarily on Julia Gillard and her government, and is unable to list a positive without countering with a negative. And in the third paragraph, even before any mention of Gillard or Labor, we get this:
“Of course, in a parliament where the unexpected is the expected, that could change – for instance, if Kevin Rudd were to achieve the Herculean challenge of seizing the leadership.”
Article two, Not So Super Profits Tax Has Labor In A Bind, is more overtly critical of Labor and their apparently-underperforming mining tax. But Grattan sets the tone of her article in the opening paragraph:
“In a notable bookending, the mining tax that helped destroy Kevin Rudd’s leadership late last term is causing Julia Gillard serious budgetary and political problems as she heads towards the election.”
Grattan also uses treasurer Wayne Swan to reiterate the bad blood:
“Rudd bitterly blamed Swan for the vicious reaction to the original tax from the mining sector, because there was not enough consultation beforehand.”
And comments from government whip Joel Fitzgibbon are reported as a backlash from “Fitzgibbon, a Rudd supporter”.
Article three, Rudd Puts Gillard And Swan In His Sights Over The Mining Tax, is pure cheerleader material for Rudd. The inconvenient fact that Rudd publicly backed Labor to win the September election under the Prime Minister’s leadership was buried by Grattan deep in the article, well after revisiting the events that had “destroyed” his leadership and labelling the tax a “fiasco” (a point of view not necessarily shared by all political commentators).
Article four, The Paucity Of Information Overload, is the only article of the five that makes no mention of Rudd. It’s essential a reprint of part of a speech given by Professor Robert Picard (from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism), but is bookended (to use a Grattan expression) by references to the Prime Minister and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, and their unwillingness to “upset” the media companies.
And finally, article five, An Adrenaline Charged Rudd Increases Pressure On Gillard, is 100% leadership speculation. Nothing more, nothing less. There is nothing in the article that explains exactly how or why Rudd is “adrenaline-charged”; in fact, there were no new facts or events since Grattan’s earlier Rudd missive, three days earlier. This is simply a case of Grattan warming to her favourite subject and writing about it with impunity, with such pearls as:
“If Kevin Rudd were to wrest the prime ministership back from Julia Gillard”
“Rudd’s bid has revived on the back of the impression of government “chaos””
“Rudd knew that… he was directly undermining the leadership.”
It’s pretty clear that Grattan, freshly released from the shackles of the mainstream media, is indulging herself and, it has to be said, writing these articles largely for herself. And while it seems incongruous that I, a blogger for only three years, could possibly hope to offer advice to Grattan, a political journalist with over 40 years in the industry, I feel compelled to say this:
Michelle, if you keep writing articles based on what you want to read, rather than the actuality of events that are unfolding around us daily, then you may as well pack it in now. Bloggers rise and fall on their integrity and willingness to question; to ignore the truth is to doom yourself to irrelevance.
Sadly, it may already be too late.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Here's an article you WON'T read in the papers, about Tony Abbott's impending National Press Club speech.
Double standards, anyone?
Double standards, anyone?
OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott unveiled more than a policy launch today - he also showed off a new pair of glasses.
The LOTO, who doesn’t normally wear corrective lenses, surprised a number of political pundits when he took to the lectern at the National Press Club sporting the stylish black-framed spectacles.
His hair also appeared to have been changed, with more neutral tones than before.
Some online commentators dubbed the glasses "hipster specs" while one keen fan called them "super stylish".
In response to queries on Twitter, his press secretary James Boyce pointed out that Mr Abbott's use of glasses is new – and that this is a new pair.
And with that answer, onlookers' attention went back to the speech - and the surprise policy launch.
(this article was actually published, about Julia Gillard, following her National Press Club address)
(this article was actually published, about Julia Gillard, following her National Press Club address)
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Loathe as I am to give oxygen to the ramblings of an embittered old man, some things need to be challenged. Tomorrow's Sunday Telegraph will feature a near-full-page article describing how broadcaster/shock-jock Alan Jones told a group of Young Liberals attending the Sydney University Liberal Club President's Dinner that Prime Minister Julia Gillard's father John, who passed away recently, “died of shame.” He said:
“The old man recently died a few weeks ago of shame. To think that he had a daughter who told lies every time she stood for parliament.”
Now, I don't care which side of the political divide you may be on, or what you may think of Jones... or Gillard, for that matter. A statement like this, made by someone with influence and clear political affiliations, is a gutter act that must be rejected in the strongest possible terms by all sides.
To lose a parent is unbearable. It's a loss I know, and that so many have experienced... and for Jones to use Gillard's loss as merely another excuse to spray abuse at her is nothing short of vile.
It's particularly ludicrous that Jones should speak of shame, when clearly he has none. His is a moral compass gone askew.
I expect Jones' statements to be widely condemned; I can only hope that the Liberals who invited him to speak join that condemnation.
But if you're reading this and you feel as I do, I urge you to make your feelings clear in the only way that Jones will understand.
Boycott his radio station. At the very least, tell them how you feel.
Boycott his advertisers. You can find them here.
Make him irrelevant. Make him forgotten.